Rao Rampilla: A new life in the Big Apple

From the Georgia Law Advocate, Spring/Summer 2005 issue, Vol. 39, No.2

Since graduating from Georgia Law, Rao N. Rampilla (LL.M.'87) has been an international lawyer, a special counsel with the Indonesian Mission to the United Nations and has worked on numerous civil rights cases.

But after the events of September 11, Rampilla, who was an actor and poet in his native country of India, returned to his artistic roots.

Due to the collapse of the World Trade Center, his work with fellow Law Dawg Li Yang (LL.M.'93), whose office was located in Tower One, ceased.

Shortly thereafter, he obtained an acting role in a Visa commercial. However, Rampilla, who immigrated to America in 1983, did not realize how special this commercial was until it aired during one of the most prestigious prime-time commercial slots - the Super Bowl.

Since then, Rampilla - known as Rao Rampilla in the acting world - has had roles in Six Feet in Seven Minutes, Sex & the City, Uptown Girls, a play and several commercials and TV shows.

To help perfect his acting skills, he is attending The Julliard School and The Lee Strasbourg Theatre Institute.

He has also taken numerous speech classes to help minimize his strong Indian accent, but he said he sees his accent and ethnicity as an asset.

"I try to be someone else, and it does not work," he said. "So I give them who I am - my accent and my ethnicity.

"I realized acting is what is working for me, and I feel good. I am still transitioning, but I am happy being an actor."

He said acting, more than anything else, has helped him to discover who he really is.

"Actors study human character and, in the process, they learn about themselves," he said.

"That is one of the contributions of acting to me. I have yet to see what my contribution to acting will be."

- Julie Camp